Member councils hope a new western Queensland peak body will lead to improve outcomes for the region, for the rest of Queensland and for Australia.
Twenty-one councils have made the historic step to unite as the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils at its inaugural Assembly in Longreach.
They held a two day meeting on Monday and Tuesday with all member councils represented except the remote Burke Shire and Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Councils.
The two-day program focused on long term priorities for the region which will form the basis of a WQAC 2020 State Election Platform, and concluded with adoption of the Alliance through a Memorandum of Agreement and a communique.
Issues discussed included economic infrastructure, such as roads and water to support industry growth in both traditional and emerging industries, community infrastructure and services such as housing and health to support decentralisation and population retention, digital connectivity infrastructure and programs to support economic development through remote working and entrepreneurship, addressing detrimental workforce trends such as FIFO, and regionally targeted disaster management responses and programs that support timely and coordinated assistance to impacted communities.
The Alliance unites the 21 councils through their representative bodies: North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NWQROC); the mid west Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD); and the South West Local Government Association (SWLGA).
The councils are Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Flinders, McKinlay, Mount Isa, Richmond, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Longreach, Winton, Balonne, Bulloo, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie.
Assembly attendees included two federal ministers, a Senator, two state ministers, the three local members, two Directors General and senior Federal and State departmental officers and the president and CEO of the LGAQ.
The Prime Minister also sent a message via video to the Assembly delegates thanking local government elected members for their hard work on the back of dealing with drought, floods and now COVID-19.
RAPAD Chair and Longreach Mayor Tony Rayner said it was a generational opportunity that would have benefit beyond the regions.
"This is the first time we will have a clearly defined group across the West," Cr Rayner said.
"As a group we are able to make sure government and LGAQ know that this one voice represents what 60% of the state is thinking and what their needs are."
NWQROC chair and Carpentaria mayor Jack Bawden said that as a region the west was carrying well above its weight.
"Our agriculture and resources industries are essential to the State's economy," Cr Bawden said.
"In the West we always deliver whatever crisis comes and our ability to keep on working and continue production during this global pandemic is proof of that - without it Queensland would be pretty stuffed right now."
The Alliance will now ramp up their campaign ahead of October's Queensland state election and build the brand and reputation of the Alliance as the "united voice for all of Western Queensland".
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